Re-reading my November fashion tip I was struck by the fact that it seemed to suggest that the only good coats for winter were wool pea coats. While that type of coat (as well as coats based on it) are certainly cool and functional, there are also many other kinds of coats that can be worn effectively and stylishly.
One type of fabric that I personally have come to appreciate is canvas. For example I have a green, lightweight canvas jacket that I got from H&M. It’s not jean material, but it’s 100% cotton and has kind of a quasi-military look (except with a flattering, double vented-cut). Though I purchased this coat on a study abroad in England two and a half years ago, all the H&Ms I’ve been to have had equally stylish, if different, cotton jackets.
Cotton, of course, is not as warm as wool and it doesn’t wick water away like wool does. However, a cotton coat can be cheaper than a wool coat and if you’re just using it for short periods outside it shouldn’t be a big deal. My H&M jacket is definitely more autumn attire, but I still wear it during the winter, just with more layers.
The point here is that in addition to wool coats there are number of other things that work. Ideally, everyone would own numerous pieces for every possible occasion. Since that isn’t the case it’s a good idea to get a few coats and jackets that have some flexibility. My H&M jacket, for example, is decidedly less formal looking than my black coat. I can still wear it to work, but I can also wear it out to see concerts or just to hang out with friends. If I need something more professional or formal I’ll go with my coat.
Ultimately fabric choice is extremely important when choosing a winter coat. Find a vendor that has some variety and assess how you’ll be using the coat. In keeping with November’s fashion tip, I’d say that a pea coat is a good first choice because of it’s versatility, functionality, and style. However, if you’re branching out from there consider something that addresses a completely different need.